Will My Child Experience Racism?

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Will my child experience racism? – It’s not an easy question to answer. But if we’re being honest and you have white children and come from a white family, you probably haven’t given the question a thought. And that’s because, in a predominantly white society we assume racism only affects people of certain ethnic origins – basically anyone who is not white. Yet the very definition of racism in its simplest form suggests a prejudice against any race. So why when we think of racism do we discount white people?

Well, without detracting too far from the post title. To answer that question we have to look back to our ancestor’s. Throughout history a picture of where racism comes from is clear; One ethnic group holding power over other groups. Thus creating beliefs & structures that continue to grow routes to this day. Historically, white people are who held the power. And, by continuing to benefit from the privileges of our white ancestors, we unknowingly allow racism to continue to be a prominent part of today’s society.

Racism today

Photo of a group of people from different races
Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Nowadays, there seems to be a belief that racism no longer exists. Or, it only exists because Black, Asian and other ethnic groups can’t let go of the past and carry around the racial prejudices their ancestors faced. Yep, people really do think this. Have you ever heard phrases like, “It’s about time ‘they’ moved on”, “You can’t say anything these days” or “I’m old school, i don’t mean anything by it”? These phrases are all banded around regularly.

But in truth, racism does still exist. The very fact these phrases are used means racism still exists. It also exists when an employer decides to promote the white employee over the Asian employee even though the Asian employee is more qualified. It exists when a black man is being watched by the shop staff while shopping because he’s believed to be more likely to shoplift over a white man. It exists because black people are 40 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people.

So while society continues to be blind, or let’s be honest – ignorant, to these systematic decisions, white privilege will continue to exist and add fuel to the fire.

Back to the point at hand – Will my child experience racism?

You might be wondering what the point of this post is. Well, to look at my pale-skinned, red-headed child you assume she wouldn’t directly experience racism. And you would be wrong for two reasons:-

– The first – What you don’t know is that although her Granny is white, her Grandpa is Indian, therefore her dad is half Indian. So although she may not be the subject of racism directly due to the colour of her skin, she will feel the negative effects of racial comments & racial bias’s as if it was aimed at her directly. Why? Because she will know how her dad and Grandpa would feel about it, which will hurt her greatly. I know this because it hurts me just the same.

– The second reason – Even if she came from two white parents, she will still experience racism. That’s because we all do. Racism doesn’t just affect adults & children of ‘ethnic minority groups’ (a term which really does not sit right with me). It affects everyone. It doesn’t matter what your skin colour is or where you’re from. You might not even realise it when you do but you will experience racism in some way at some point. I may not have been the subject of racism but growing up i definitely saw it around me. From the actions taken by some and words or phrases used by many.

How I learned tabout racism.

I am the first to admit, i spent more than half my life being ignorant of racism. I grew up on a council estate, in a rough area. I took on the opinions of the people around me as if they were my own. All despite thinking i was one of few people around me who had a mind of my own. But I was a child who really didn’t know any better. I wasn’t taught any differently.

Once I met my partner and his family, my world completely opened up. I’ve learned so much over the years. Not just about racism but also about the privileges I automatically have for being white. And I’m so glad i did.

I’ve gained family members from different backgrounds and cultures from my own which means I get to take the best parts of each one and raise my child with them.

The way i see it – if I, a white woman with a mixed-race partner, having gained an Indian father in law & aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces & nephews. Only really having had my eyes open to the world of different cultures in the last fourteen years, can take a racist comment as a hurtful personal blow – then I can only imagine how my own extended family members have felt their whole lives.

boy with red heart cut out
Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

Education starts at home

If we are disturbed by the fact that racism really does still exist, in this day and age, then we have a responsibility to educate our kids, the future generation about it so that they don’t pass on the same prejudices that were handed down to us. We need to teach them, not only about diversity and individual cultures, but also white privilege. About the challenges people face because of the colour of their skin.

White privilege is one of the leading causes of racism. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying because you’re white you must have chosen to accept or take those privileges, that’s not the case at all. But it is something that is there regardless of whether you want it or not. It’s part of the system. The only way to change this is to challenge it and to educate our kids so that over time they can carry the same challenging mantel. Only then will we see a change.

Kids will learn about race at some point, right? Is it not better their education is structured and well informed and not picked up from what they see on social media or hear from friends? If we, as parents, don’t step in and educate, first ourselves & then our kids, we are at risk of raising them with predetermined prejudices and the cycle will start all over again with the next generation.

How can we educate our kids?

Educating our kids about racism & racial diversity is key to changing how we move forward as a society. Although the conversations may not be easy, there is a wealth of information and tools online to help us start those conversations. Here are just a few you could check out for advice on where to start –

survivorsnetwork.org.uk

BBC – How to talk to your children about Race & Racism

But what we first need to do is educate ourselves. If our beliefs or behaviours don’t align with what we are trying to teach, how can we expect our kids to see any value in it?

Do you teach your kids about Racism? Have you experienced Racism? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

 

About Author

Hi, I'm Alex, welcome to my little corner of the internet.
I'm here to share my journey to motherhood and beyond. You may not find structured advice from a 'Stepford housewife' style mum, but you will get honesty & realism from a regular mum just like you.
From IVF, women's health & being a redhead to pregnancy, toddlerhood & life as a work-from-home mum, I've got it all.
So stay and take a look around, you never know what you might find.

(37) Comments

  1. Great post. I went to an international school, which has probably given me a slightly different perspective.I totally agree that we should teach our children about racism. Schools do a good job, but we need to take responsibility as parents too. #mmbc

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Thank you!
      I think maybe some schools are better than others too. My teenage niece hasn’t done much is her school on racism, which is a shame.

  2. In the thousands and zillions of blog posts it is ones like these that really matter in my opinion. Blog posts that make people think and perhaps question their thinking, feelings and actions. It is one post I will return to again and I will share those resources with my children. Thank you. #GlobalBlogging

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Thank you Kate, that means a lot!
      It’s definitely a topic that needs more discussion.

  3. Karen Dennis says:

    I used to tell my children that bullies will pick on others for many reasons, you have goofy teeth, sticking out ears, a funny name, etc#stayclassymama@_karendennis

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Racism and bullying do in some situations go hand in hand. Sadly though, i feel like racism is more of a mind set these days rather than bullying. x

  4. Very interesting post. Good work. There’s a book you might be interested in “Why I no longer talk to white people about race’ or something along those lines. I really enjoyed it (though at times it made me uncomfortable when I recognised myself – the well meaning yet equally problematic white person). And there’s a saying about privilege which I think those that argue against white privilege miss. Privilege is also what you were never subjected to. We don’t fully get it because we never really experienced it. But we can be more aware of it and fight against it.
    #StayClassyMama

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Thanks for your comment Lydia and the book suggestion. I’m definitely going to check that out.
      I absolutely agree that white privilege sadly isn’t often recognised by those who were born with it. Being more aware is definitely a step in the right direction to making changes. X

  5. And back for #KCACOLS too.

  6. Racism can occur between any races and I think that it varies between communities. None is acceptable and should be challenged. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Absolutely!

  7. Britt | Not Your Mom's Gifts says:

    The phrase “I’m old school, i don’t mean anything by it” is the WORST. I wish people could understand that racism is not okay ever, no matter how “old school” you are. I totally agree that educating our kids is one of the best things we can do to fight this. #KCACOLS

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      We have a responsibility to shape the next generation. If we want to see a change it has to start with educating our kids today so they can make better choices tomorrow.

  8. You are so right – we do need more education about racism. My grandchildren are racially mixed, so this is a topic I take personally.

  9. joarosetintedworld says:

    Great post. And such an important topic. There really needs to be so much more education around racism. #KCACOLS

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Absolutely! There’s so much we can do ourselves as parents.

  10. This is a brilliant time to remind parents that they have a responsibility to educate their children to be decent human beings. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

  11. This is a great read and yes, racism has come up after my son experienced another kid being picked on for his skin colour at school. and at such a young age – they were just five. So yes, we’ve had a lot of conversations about it

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Wow 5 is so young… Kids can be so cruel.

  12. Karen Reekie says:

    I grew up abroad in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and have seen racism and it directed at others. We also have Chinese and Nigerian family members and I know the face racism despite the fact you’d think the world could and should do better. I’m white and so are my kids so we don’t “know” what it means but we can educate and try to do better and teach our kids to too. Thank you for sharing with #stayclassymama

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      You would think the world would be better these days when it comes to racism. But it is upto us as parents to start making changes with our own children.

  13. Great post. I think that no matter what somebody looks like there will be somebody that looks differently that will have a problem with them. Obviously some will encounter more than others and we can’t compare the troubles of one race to another. I think that we’ve come a long way as a society but there is much much more work to be done #KCACOLS

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      I agree, there is much more to be done. But sadly, we will always have a small minority that will find an issue with someone for no good reason.
      Thank you for stopping by.

  14. Wonderful post.
    I am so glad that I was able to move back to Canada.
    We live in a multi-cultural city and my children are exposed to so many different cultures.
    They seem to be much more tolerant than their cousins in the states.
    #KCACOLS

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Being exposed to different cultures definitely makes people more accepting and less likely to develop those preconceived opinions, which more often than not have no actual bases. Thank you for stopping by.

  15. Dee | Grammy's Grid says:

    As a white American, I had seen it while growing up but it had not been directed toward me so I really didn’t understand how it felt. Then it happened, I became a grandmother to my precious bi-racial granddaughter! It hurts and it hurts bad when people make derogatory remarks about her and her dad (my daughter’s husband). The ignorance and hurtful comments mostly come from my backwoods relatives who think their white skin is better than anyone else’s. Makes me sick to my stomach to know I have their blood running thru my veins.

    1. One Clueless Mum says:

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. Isn’t it funny how once you become aware of it, it’s so obvious and you notice it so much more?
      I too have relatives that use certain words that are offensive but they just don’t see it. I’ve had hour long debates with them, trying to get them to see things from a different perspective but it’s always the same excuse… “I don’t mean anything by it, that’s just how what I’ve always said”. Oh, so that’s ok then, even though you know it offends people?!… Very frustrating.

  16. This was really interesting and thank you for sharing the links to the parental tools. I have been trying to talk with my children about racism, but I am not sure it has been getting through (like much of my teaching during this home learning period) so these will be useful #KCACOLS

  17. I can understand as a person with disability therefore subgroup I know similarities in anyone that is slightly different to others especially at the school the torment. I just hope people are more open minded but does make you worry because it is your child and you want to protect them X #kcacols

  18. paternaldamnation says:

    The recent resurgence of racism really caught me off guard. As a white male, I’d naively assumed that such bigoted views were thankfully becoming less common. Unfortunately, it transpires that there’s been no real resurgence as it never went away. Hopefully better education around the issue now might help in the future. #KCACOLS

  19. As a high school teacher I think about this issue very deeply. Thanks for a great read. #kcacols

  20. ohmummymia says:

    Parental tools look awesome I need to check it out. I will teach my son about racism for sure. Although for me the skin colour doesn’t exist #KCACOLS

  21. Definitely needs to be more education about racism and how to be actively anti-racist. My eyes have been opened so much over recent weeks # KCACOLS

  22. Accidental Hipster Mum says:

    I would hope there will be a time in the very near future that no one has to experience racism. Hopefully we’re moving in the right direction and your daughter will only have good experiences.
    #KCACOLS

  23. So important to raise these issues and definitely educate the future generations. We love to travel and show our children different cultures and explain some of the more difficult issues from colonial pasts.

    #kcacols

  24. I think it’s so true that education starts at home – especially at the moment with so many kids off school & tackling subjects usually dealt with at school at home #KCACOLS

  25. Education starts at home!
    Where I grew up in Canada is such a different experience than when/where I lived in the US.
    #KCACOLS

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